“As a Graterfriends volunteer, you gain a special insight into the closed world of prisons. You sharpen your research and literacy skills by line editing and fact-checking. But what’s most rewarding is the occasional letter thanking us for all the work we do. People in custody and their families have given us endless thanks for something as simple as a publication because, sometimes, it gives people purpose. Being able to help someone achieve their purpose is really the most rewarding thing anyone could ask for.”
—Kailyn, Graterfriends Volunteer
This week’s supporter update is dedicated to our Graterfriends volunteers and contributors whose talent and dedication make this publication possible.
Graterfriends, a newsletter created by and for incarcerated people in Pennsylvania, has been in publication since 1981. Graterfriends is a key resource for incarcerated people to communicate to one another across facilities about what is happening within their prison, how it impacts their lives and what matters most to them. It is also an important source of news and resources. One incarcerated man at SCI Huntingdon recently wrote to the Society and shared that he “consider[s] Graterfriends family. I’ve learned so much about people and life through you all. I’ve never had the love, guidance, and help you all have offered selflessly.”
Graterfriends currently has approximately 900 subscribers located within all 23 of Pennsylvania’s SCIs. But we know that our readership is far greater as many of our subscribers share Graterfriends with friends and others in their housing units—passing the latest issue from cell to cell after finishing reading it.
Graterfriends is published on a bimonthly basis, and nearly half of the content is written by incarcerated subscribers. Our creative issue is published annually around the holiday season and exclusively features writers in custody, and includes poems, memoirs, essays and artwork.
Graterfriends would not exist without the help of dedicated volunteers who review and edit all submissions, carefully research and fact-check, and draft and design each issue. A special thank you to this year’s volunteers: Noelle Gambale, Kailyn Schneider, Jack Murphy, Lily Hopwood, Chloe Cherry, Sarina Sandwell, Kalene Skye, Taelor Jones as well as additional help from interns and the support of staff member Kirstin Cornnell.
Explore our Graterfriends Archive
“I would like to say thank you to the entire Graterfriends team for all the love, support, motivation, and inspiration that ya’ll have bestowed upon me throughout my incarceration. To say that I appreciate your service would be an understatement, and I will forever be grateful for you being the first to publish my work. Thanks again, you all have brought fluorescent light upon me through some of the darkest times, and bestowed rainbows upon me on some of my gloomiest moments.”
—David, Graterfriends subscriber, contributor and recently returned citizen
Graterfriends gives prisoners a voice. You can help us continue to provide this critical publication. If you're interested in sponsoring an edition of Graterfriends, please email Emily Cheramie Walz, Development Director."